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‘Wrong timing’ and ‘embarrassing,’ says Robredo of House tug-of-war during Sona

/ 09:21 PM July 24, 2018
Joseph Estrada - Helen Gamboa - Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo (right) shakes hands with former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada during the third State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 26, 2018. Between them is former actress Helen Gamboa, wife of Senate President Vicente Sotto III. (Photo from the Facebook account of the Vice President)

Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday slammed the “wrong timing” and “embarrassing” sudden election of former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as House Speaker, which delayed President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) for over an hour.

“Parang internal party ang dating sa atin,” the Vice President told reporters in an ambush interview.

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[It’s struck me as an internal party affair.]

“Putting it into context, nangyari siya during the President’s SONA. Parang yung moment na yun para kay Pangulo. Pinapanood ng buong bansa. Excited lahat para pakinggan what the President has to say,” she added. “So parang yung attention na-grab nung incident. Para sa akin wrong timing siya.”

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[Puttin it into context, it happened during the President’s Sona. That moment is for the President. The whole country is watching. Everyone was excited to hear what the President had to say. So that incident grabbed everyone’s attention. For me, that’s wrong timing.]

Arroyo took over the speakership from Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez just before the President’s Sona on Monday, after the majority of House members voted to reopen the session and pushed for a change in leadership even if Alvarez had adjourned it in the morning.

But it was still Alvarez who sat beside Senate President Vicente Sotto III at the rostrum during the Sona.

It is a tradition that the Senate President and the House Speaker sit beside each other during the event.

A special session was made after Sona, which formally elected Arroyo as the House Speaker by a vote of 184 members.

“Nakakahiya na pinapakita natin sa lahat na yung pag-wrestle ng power parang in full public view,” Robredo said. “Nagbibigay siya ng impression na ito na ba yung state ng ating bansa, yung mas mahalaga pang unahin yung power struggle kaysa sa attempt na, despite our differences, magkaisa man lamang sana tayo para pagtulungan natin yung mga problema na hinaharap natin.”

[It’s embarrassing that we showed everyone that wrestling for power in full public view. That gave the impression that the state of our nation is that it’s more valuable to prioritize the power struggle instead of the attempt, despite our difference, to unite and help each other solve the problems we’re facing.]

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“Hindi talaga maganda yung timing niya at a time na moment sana yun ng Presidente, kahit tingnan natin sa mga headlines ngayon,” she added.

[The timing was not really right as it happened at moment that was supposed to be for the President – and we can see this even in the headlines now.]

Robredo refused to comment further on the election of Arroyo, preferring not to say whether acknowledged her as the House Speaker.

“It is a matter that has to be settled by the members of the House of Representatives,” she said. “Labas naman tayo doon [We’re not part of that].” /atm

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TAGS: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Leni Robredo, Pantaleon Alvarez, Rodrigo Duterte, Sona, SONA 2018
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